By Chioma Obinna
The Federal government has been urged to make diabetes screening routine in hospitals across the country.
Making the plea at an interactive session in Lagos with hundreds of diabetics to mark 2016 World Diabetes Day, tagged ‘Eyes on Diabetes’, health professionals also urged Nigerians to know their diabetes status.
They said making diabetes screening routine like high blood pressure would help detect large number of people living with the disease without knowing it.
The Medical Director, Rainbow Hospital, Lagos, Dr. Afoke Isiavwe said diabetes is almost becoming an epidemic.
Isiawe who is also the Coordinator, Diabetes Podiatry Initiative Nigeria & Medical Director Rainbow Specialist Hospital, regretted that millions of Nigerians do not know their diabetes status.
She further urged Nigerians already living with the disease to guide against diabetic foot.
Warning them against walking bare-footed, she stressed the need for people with diabetes to inspect their feet daily to prevent amputation and other complications of the diseases.
According to her, for diabetes a sore on the leg is an emergency and should be taken to a hospital for proper management because 85 percent of diabetic amputation are preceded by a sore on the leg.
“Worldwide over one million amputations occur with people with diabetes every year and every second a limb is lost to diabetes. Patients with diabetes are at 15 – 40 folds higher risk of a lower limb amputation than non-diabetic patients.
She said “People living with diabetes should take extra care of their feet and check their feet everyday for colour changes, red spots, cuts, swelling, blisters, and numbness and also choose their footwear appropriately, and avoid walking around without shoes.”
Isiavwe posited that early detection would help avoid poor outcome and reduce amputation from diabetes.
On her part, the Strategic Accounts Manager for Diabetes care, Roche Diabetes Care, Mrs. Folashade Olufemi-Ajayi appealed to government to make a policy that would mandate checking of blood glucose as routine just like blood pressure is checked.
She said if made compulsory in the hospitals, “we will be able to detect early those people in their pre-diabetes stage or down with diabetes and this will reduce further progression into complications.”
She also called out to diabetic patients to always carry out structured self monitoring of blood glucose so as to enable them achieve appropriate metabolic control and avoid the risk of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.
Speaking, the Chairman Diabetes Association of Nigeria (DAN) Lagos Chapter, Mr. Hameed Abiodun Afinowi, said the challenges people living with diabetes face in the country are enormous, as the prices of their medications like Insulin, glucometer and the stripes are very expensive and exorbitant for patients. He urged the government to subsidise cost of their medications.